Living Well May 7th 2013

How do you travel to the store, your church or to visit friends? Do you ride a bike, or a four wheel electric scooter? Or do you careen around town on a Vespa like Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn in the movie “Roman Holiday”? According to a national study those of us over 65 years of age make roughly 90% of our trips by car – demonstrating how dependent we are on the automobile for our transportation needs. But for an increasing number of older folks, driving is no longer a possibility. Fortunately, there are several public transportation alternatives.

 In Wasco County, the Mid-Columbia Council of Government’s Transportation Network (The LINK) provides both dial-a-ride services throughout Wasco County, and fixed route services within the City of The Dalles and even to Hood River and Portland. The Dial-A-Ride services are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM but you need to call in advance to schedule them. The busses are lift-equipped to assist riders who require the use of a wheelchair. The fare is $1.50 one way.

The Transportation Network also offers in The Dalles a “Shop Till You Drop” fixed route loop every Monday and Wednesday from 10:00 AM till 2:00 PM going between Bi-Mart and downtown – and hitting the major shopping areas in between. Fare is $3.00 for unlimited stops.

There is also a fixed route between Hood River and The Dalles that operates three times every weekday with stops at Wal-Mart, Providence Hospital and CGCC (HR) along the way. Fare is $3.00 one way. And if you want to explore Portland, the Transportation Network offers bus service to Portland every Thursday leaving The Dalles at 7:30 and returning by 5:10 with stops at the Gateway Max Station, Art Museum, OHSU and the Clackamas Town Center. Fare is $8.00 each way.

For more information, call the Transportation Network at 541-296-7595, 1-877-875-4657 or go online at Or you can attend the next Passport to Happiness event at the Center on Wednesday May 15th from 3:00 – 4:30 where speakers from the Transportation Network will discuss public transportation options in the Mid-Columbia area.

May is Older Americans Month – but more about that next week, because May is also Community Action Month. And to celebrate, the Community Action Program (CAP) is hosting their annual Open House at 312 E 4th Street (the house with the red door across from the Civic) from 11:30 till whenever the hotdogs and hamburgers run out. Besides providing low income energy assistance for seniors and administering the AARP Tax Aide Program, CAP also operates the Community Food Facility that provides food to many local food agencies. And to help stock the local food banks, this coming Saturday is the Letter Carrier’s Food Drive. So don’t forget to leave a bag of canned food next to your mailbox.

The Mid-Columbia Housing Resource Center is now taking a limited number of pre-applications for a potential Regional Home Repair Program for residents of Wasco and Hood River Counties. This program will provide grants up to $15,000 for low to moderate income homeowners to make needed health and safety repairs to their homes. Call David Peters 541-296-3397 x18 for more info or go online at

 Unfortunately, I have to reschedule Valerie Kendrick’s May 14th presentation on how to better understand your grandchildren (and learn a few tricks too) to June 4th. Instead, the next 11:00 Tuesday Lectures will continue the discussion about how to fund the growing need for long term care. And before the water boils and the teapot whistles, playing tonight at the Center is “The Strawberry Mountain Band”. And on the 14th Martin and Friends will be back strumming for your dancing and listening enjoyment. Music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

The name of the talking mule in the 1950’s movie series was Francis. (And this week’s winner is Alex Currie.) Following the same theme, this week’s “Remember When” question is about a television series that began in 1961 on CBS starring a talking horse named Mr. Ed. But he would only talk to his eccentric and klutzy owner played by Alan Young. What was the owner’s first name? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of Bamboo Harvester – the horse that portrayed Mr. Ed from 1961-1966.

Well, it has been another week looking life in the eye and trying not to blink. Until we meet again, most things are never as easy as you first thought, nor as hard as you now believe.

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